Terrorism is a word used to describe a range of violent actions. Typically, these are directed at civilians, although, under some circumstances, even attacks against military forces can qualify as terrorism. The adage “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter,” though seemingly simplistic, is an effective lens for interpreting the phenomenon. The U.S. State Department defines terrorism as “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.” This definition captures some features of some kinds of terrorism but also assumes that violence directed by a state sponsor does not qualify, thereby making it somewhat narrow and selective in its scope. As shall be seen, state-sponsored violence has been directed against civilians, including against ...

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